Inside Out: The Doctor Can’t See You Now: The Crisis in Primary Care

This was a documentary about one of the fundamentals of medicine in the U.S.: primary care. It was a story about the changing roles of the family practitioner and internal medicine doctors both historically and today. It was the story of how the complexity of the modern healthcare environment, the aging population and new attitudes towards practicing medicine among doctors, have transformed the pivotal role of the doctor at the center of a patient's medical journey. The result in the short term is that patients are finding it harder and harder to get in to see a primary care physician. In the longer term, many policy makers and practitioners think that a lack of focus on primary care across the country means that we are losing out on an important way of improving the nation's health and reducing the spiraling costs of healthcare. In The Doctor Can't See You Now Rachel Gotbaum reported on why seasoned primary care doctors are leaving their practices, and how too many newly-trained doctors are making the decision that primary care is an untenable career. A majority of younger doctors are choosing instead to go into specialties where the hours are more regular and the pay more rewarding. This Inside Out Documentary examined what lies behind the crisis and what is being done to address it. Reporter Rachel Gotbaum was recently honored with a national Murrow award for her radio documentary, A Mission, A Merger, and A Medical Center.

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